American forces have been accused of further violating international law by holding two Iraqi women hostage to force their male relatives to surrender.
It is alleged that US soldiers snatched a 60 year old woman and her 38 year old daughter from their home in Baghdad and left a note on the gate stating "Be a man Muhammad Mukhlif and give yourself up and then we will release your sisters. Otherwise they will spend a long time in detention."
Although the family name is Mukhlif, no-one called Muhammad lived at the address, so three male relatives of the women took the case to the media instead of surrendering themselves to the Authorities. The note was not signed by US personnel, but when reporters rang the mobile phone number noted at the bottom of the message, an American soldier picked up the phone. He refused to answer any of the journalist's questions and hung up.
Lieutenant Colonel Clifford Kent, on behalf of the US forces, stated "We do not take hostages. Sources told us the women were present during meetings to plan attacks against coalition forces and that they had knowledge of terror cell leaders and the location of weapons caches in the area."
Six days after they were seized, the women were released without charge. Thankfully they confirmed that they were not abused while in custody. The US denies leaving the note, and they have promised an investigation. You can bet the investigation will clear them of any wrong doing, or blame a few "bad apples".